Ferrari technical director Pat Fry has said that he does not expect to find an instant cure for the Scuderia's current woes, hinting that the problems at Maranello go beyond mere car design.
Difficulties with last year's car were put down to calibration errors in the windtunnel but, with those supposedly overcome, the Prancing Horse came into 2012 with high hopes of giving Fernando Alonso a car with which to challenge for a third world title. Ironically, the Spaniard does lead the world championship standings, but his position is due more to a fortuitous result in Malaysia, where he benefited from wet-dry conditions, to add victory to the fifth place he took in the season-opener in Melbourne.
Fry was promoted last year to replace Aldo Costa but, despite the team's pre-season optimism, accepts that the F2012 is seriously flawed, and confirms that there isn't just one area to be addressed.
"I think there's a number of different issues that we've had, the most obvious one from the early testing was the exhaust system where we were struggling with what that was doing to the rear tyres," he said, "I think we now understand that and are on top of that, though we haven't run that style exhaust system since the first Barcelona test.
"The other areas have come to light where we knew we had the problems, [but] we didn't know where and we were really learning that through the last Barcelona test. I think we have a reasonable understanding of them and the areas we need to be working on. It's like all these things, there's never a golden bullet, it's not a light switch you can turn on. You might have the idea of 'okay, that's the problem', but it's hard work to try and fix it. And you're not going to change it around in a week. Everyone is working very hard to fix all those issues and then get back on a sensible development curve.
"Here there are quite a few new parts on the car. There will be another set of updates, bigger updates, coming through for Barcelona. It's a race of upgrading. We've got a lot of upgrades coming through, but so does everyone else around this table."
Fry also confirmed that there were still problems with the team's aero capability, and it was there that greater attention needed to be focused on working methods.
"The biggest performance differentiator is aerodynamics, and we've got some issues there that we're trying to resolve," he admitted, "The areas you need to be working on is everything from the way you run the wind tunnel, the accuracy of your wind tunnel, the simulation that you use to decide what components to take forward, so we're not leaving any stone unturned. We're actually trying to review and revise our methodologies through the whole process - and that carries on into the design office for trying to get weight out of various parts, make other bits more durable. So there's work going on absolutely everywhere within the company, on the basic fundamental methodology as well as just trying to upgrade the car.
"Obviously, the exhaust effect is reduced a huge amount from what we had last year, but that's quite a small part of the problem that we've got. I don't really want to go into where all the problems are – it's not just a case of us trying to build a quicker car, we need to fundamentally be changing the methodologies that we use to select, design and manufacture so that we are competitive long-term.